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Eosinophil granule proteins in serum and urine of patients with helminth infections and atopic dermatitis

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Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EPX) are cytotoxic molecules involved in helminth infections and allergic reactions. Hitherto most clinical chemical studies have been concerned with the analysis of serum ECP in allergic diseases. The aim of this study was to examine whether serum as well as urine levels of these proteins are useful clinical chemical parameters in helminthiases and allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis. Comparing these diseases under the same methodological conditions, levels of ECP and EPX were generally higher in helminthiases than in atopic dermatitis and non-helminth, non-allergic diseases. The highest levels of both proteins occurred in tropical worm diseases, in particular hookworm disease and onchocerciasis. When comparing helminthiases with allergic disorder, only hookworm disease (ECP and EPX) and onchocerciasis (EPX) exhibited significantly higher eosinophil cationic protein serum levels than atopic dermatitis. In patients with schistosomiasis mansoni and egg loads of > 1000–10 000 eggs/g stool (epg) EPX serum levels were significantly higher than in patients exhibiting loads < 1000 epg. Urinary analyses revealed only EPX to be present in measurable amounts. Levels of this protein were much higher in urine of patients with hookworm disease and onchocerciasis than in those with atopic dermatitis and in healthy controls. The results suggest that besides serum EPX, urinary EPX may be a useful clinical chemical parameter in eosinophilia of helminth and allergic aetiology.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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